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Message from Dean Richardson: Developing innovative leaders

Dr. RichardsonDear School of Medicine community:

For some time, we’ve been talking about transforming academic medicine – here at OHSU and nationally. Our conversations have focused on supporting a more collaborative culture, reorganizing to maximize our positive effects on human health and society, and ensuring financial stability so that we can continue to invest in student and faculty success and excellence.

For me, when I stop and consider any given moment or day, it can be difficult to mark progress. However, when I look back over the last few years, important strides come into sharp focus – across all our mission areas.

Within the School of Medicine, we are evaluating our education curriculum and its delivery through our LCME self-study process and reorganizing to strengthen health care delivery, preparing for the changes associated with reform. Our faculty leaders are working to develop a strategic roadmap for the research mission. We are making significant investments in technology and new faculty expertise in ways that enhance collaboration and team-based science across OHSU. And these are just some of the important ongoing strategic initiatives.

At the institutional level, we’re implementing a new business model – knowing that our responsibility to the future requires broadening our revenue sources and moving away from a disproportionate reliance on clinical revenue. Anticipated shifts in reimbursements associated with health care reform, changes related to federal research funding and continued stress on state funding for all of higher education make this a high priority for OHSU, as well as most academic health centers. With the support of PwC, we are identifying ways to improve performance across the institution and will reinvest the cost savings in strategic initiatives.

Adapting to change requires strong, engaged leadership at every level of our institution. Rapid change has not been a hallmark of academic medicine, but we must balance the widening strength of our institution with the need to be proactive in adapting to our external environment. OHSU is supporting a number of integrated efforts to develop innovative leaders from within our own faculty and management ranks.

Within the school, for all mission areas, we have been investing in the Paths to Leadership Program, are providing strong mentoring opportunities, supporting manager training opportunities, and encouraging one-on-one leadership coaching within departments. We are gearing up now for even greater emphasis on faculty development. One of the six task forces in the Research Roadmap process (log in required) is specifically focused on enhancing research career development and mentoring.

Across the institution, especially as it relates to health care quality and delivery, some faculty members and managers are involved in workshops dedicated to a change acceleration process, or CAP. Others are learning about and evaluating the potential of “Lean” health care management which has been adopted at other health care sites in the U.S. and Europe.

Our commitment to leadership development helps OHSU directly, but it also extends our reputation as a source of innovative national leaders. A recent example of this is the recruitment of Patricia Hurn, PhD, Associate Dean for Faculty Development, Professor and Vice Chair for Research, Anesthesiology and Perioperative Medicine, as a Vice Chancellor for Research of the University of Texas System.

That’s a reputation of which we can all be justly proud and helps achieve a primary goal of the School of Medicine – supporting and enabling faculty and student success.

Thank you, all of you, for your part in moving us forward.

Best regards,


Mark Richardson, MD, MBA
Dean, OHSU School of Medicine
President, Faculty Practice Plan


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